Book Reviews

Book Review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Title: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.
Author: Marie Kondo
Genre: Self-help; Personal Development; Non-Fiction

What It’s About: Since the time she was five years old, Marie Kondo became interested in the issue of organizing and tidying. She’s even put her family through the newest and most recent recommendations for organizing the clutter in their house, including forcing them to clean after themselves. Years of her experience leads her to say that you should focus on clothes, books, paper, miscellaneous items, and sentimental items–in that order, and only those that belong to you, leaving everyone to work on their own items, which they will end up doing themselves.

Before you even get started, consider why you want a tidy house and a room; what that will it change for you, what you will uncover of yourself and what difference it will make in your life. Envision the room and the house that you want because tidying will change your life, once you learn how to tidy correctly.

Then dump all of your clothes and the accessories (shoes, belts, jewelry, bags, etc) that come with them. You must handle all of them, and figure out which ones of the items spark joy for you–a tangible feeling running through your body. Anything that doesn’t, put aside into the donation or trash piles, and send it off with a lot of love, good wishes and all the best feeling, so that it may find a better life with someone else who may use it. Don’t let your family see what you’re discarding or donating as your mom or parent will pick up some items and then end up giving them to you a few months later.

Then you do the same thing with books, and paper, making sure to only keep the books that you love, and the papers that are important or needed for you. You don’t need to hold onto college textbooks that you’ve “always wanted to read” but never got around to, all of the warranties for your electronics and kitchen appliances you’ve kept that you’ll never read or need, and even more. After that, you want to get on the miscellaneous items–the ones hidden in random drawers, those closets full of things that you keep forgetting exists, the basement, the cabinets full of supplies that you haven’t checked in a while, etc. Most people have a lot of the same items that they have stocked up for absolutely no reason as they can go buy them again before they run out. Finally you start on the sentimental items, because this is the hardest part of cleaning, and if you try to start out with that, you will get lost in the memories and emotions. By leaving it for last and doing all of the other steps in order, you will have strengthened the muscles of what brings joy to you so that you can make the decisions on which of the sentimental items bring you joy, and which ones you can let go.

Once you’ve cleaned up and let go of things, you can figure out where these items belong. To do so you need to listen to what the house tells you, and where the things go. That’s where you will have to put them, and let them breathe there. You do not need to have more space than the house already comes with because you will be able to fit things there, once you’ve downsized the amount of things you have. With it, the house will be much cleaner, and in turn you will gain more clarity in life. Because there is air in the house and it’s not stuffy with everything being there, there are also physical changes in the person. At least that’s what Marie Kondo has noticed with her clients.

My Thoughts: Reading the book has definitely made me want to do a lot of cleaning–and it was amazing how much I was able to clean, though to be honest, it was quite tedious. Having to touch EVERYTHING you own is quite exhausting, but figuring out what matters to you becomes so much easier the more you do it. And everything that she was saying was hitting home about clutter and realizing that some clothes and items were well loved, but outlived their purpose in their home, or they came in to teach you the joy of spending money on them without being worn, was important. It gave me appreciation of the things I do have, and love owning. It became even clearer, when she talked about the house and finding a place for things–to me that is similar to forming habits of putting things in the same place, so that it becomes muscle memory when you leave or come from the house to grab those things and have them with you every time. That’s what I love about this method and everything that she says in the book.


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